Friday, January 23, 2015

A Review of Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webb

By Kim

Synopsis (from the book jacket):

As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.

Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.

Photo by Angie Parkinson
About Heather Webb (adapted from the author's website):

As a former military brat and traveling addict, it was tricky for Heather to choose a landing pad. At last, she settled in a rural town in New England. For a decade she put her degrees in French and Cultural Geography to good use teaching and coaching high school students.

Currently, she is a novelist and works as a freelance editor. She can also be found lurking at the popular where she contributes to their blog with editing advice, and at the award-winning site,, where she poses as Twitter Mistress (@WriterUnboxed). She also kicks around a local college teaching classes called “Write to Publish” and “Crafting Your Novel”.

When she’s cross-eyed from too much screen time, she flexes her foodie skills or geeks out on history and pop culture.

Rodin’s Lover is Heather’s second novel. Be sure to check out her first, Becoming Josephine, as well.

My review:

Hmmm…an artist-muse story set in Belle Époque Paris? The tale of a talented female sculptor obsessed with and overshadowed by a male artist of greater fame? It’s safe to say that I would have snatched this book off the shelf and bought it based solely on the title and that gorgeous cover.

For those readers unfamiliar with the relationship between Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, the cover may imply a tempestuous affair crossing the border into obsession, one that more likely than not ends badly. The beauty of Rodin’s Lover is that while the reader does get the thrill of living vicariously through all that passion and heartbreak, this is not a typical artist/muse story. Though Rodin is better remembered by history, Claudel possessed similar talent. The role of muse is not set in stone. (Pun intended.)

Heather Webb did a phenomenal job chronicling Claudel’s slow descent into madness, much of which is told from her point of view. I saw Claudel’s delusions through her own eyes, and while I knew her perceptions were not real, there was truth to be found in them.

Readers who have felt thwarted in their creative pursuits by a parent or other loved one will likely find Claudel relatable and sympathetic.

If you enjoy stories about artists and the creative process, or even simply ones that take place in this particular point in French history, Rodin’s Lover is well worth the read. Pick up your copy starting on January 27th.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of the book mentioned above gratis in the hope that I would mention it on this blog. Regardless, I only recommend books I've read and believe will appeal to our readers. In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” I am making this statement.

1 comment:

  1. I've already pre-ordered this book, and am looking forward to it even more based on your take, Kim. Thanks!


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